Miami Marlins Q&A with Ehsan Kassim of Marlin Maniac
By Mike Lacy
Jose Fernandez. Image Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
To prepare for the Phillies series against the Miami Marlins, I asked some questions to Ehsan Kassim of Marlin Maniac. Luckily, he was kind enough to provide some answers so that we could learn a little more about that baseball team from Miami.
I also answered some of his questions about the Phillies, so if you want to read what I had to say, please head on over to Marlin Maniac.
What has been the key to the Marlins’ success at home?
The key to the Marlins success at home has been strong starting pitching and the team not trying to drive the ball out of the park. At home, the Marlins players have realized hitting home runs won’t come easy, so they try to use the whole field and collect hits that way. Also, the Marlins’ starting pitching has been stronger at MP, than on the road, for whatever reason.
No, they aren’t cheating like the lowly Braves suggest.
What has been the biggest factor in the Marlins’ improved offensive performance in 2014?
Giancarlo Stanton. Image Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Has to be a healthy Giancarlo Stanton. This team is going to go as far as he can take them, which is going to be tougher with Jose Fernandez out. Stanton’s 2.9 WAR coming into today ranks second in the MLB, just behind Troy Tulowitzki. Stanton has 12 home runs, cut down a bit on strikeouts, and walked at a reasonable rate.
It also helps that Casey McGehee and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are having career seasons to this point.
How devastating was the injury to Jose Fernandez? Do you expect him to pick off where he left off when he eventually returns?
The Jose Fernandez injury is probably the worst thing that ever happened to this franchise. Yes, this includes every single moment Loria has owned the Marlins. Fernandez had to be the most interesting pitcher in all of baseball to watch.
Fernandez could be back in 12-18 months, but I’d expect him to have some struggles upon his return. But then again, we thought he’d take a while to adjust to the MLB coming straight from High-A ball.
Does Giancarlo Stanton have a shot at 50 home runs this season?
I’d love to say yes and I predicted 47 before the season, but I’m going to have to say no. I think he’ll end up beating the franchise record of 42. 50 home runs is a tall mark, but if anyone has a chance, I think Stanton can do it. Probably not this season, though.
Can you provide a scouting report on the scheduled starters for the Marlins?
Anthony DeSclafani will make his second MLB start tonight. He was brilliant in his MLB debut in LA. He was starting in place of Fernandez and struck out 7 in his 6 innings of work. Anthony is a groundball pitcher and has good control.
Nathan Eovaldi goes game two, after a hot start to the season, he has struggled his last two times out. He still is striking out just under a batter an inning and walking less than two per 9. Eovaldi has a devastating fastball, but the rest of his arsenal is still lagging behind. He’s been around the plate a lot more in 2014 than in the past.
The enigma, Henderson Alvarez, pitches in the finale. In one start, Alvarez will have dominant no hit stuff, and in the next start, he’ll look like someone else, surrendering hit after hit, leading to highly productive games for the opposition.
Prediction for the series?
I like the Marlins chances of taking two of three, but not based off the pitching matchups. The second game is the only one in which the Marlins have an advantage in the pitching department. I just feel more comfortable with the Marlins back at home. Giancarlo Stanton is swinging a hot bat and he should do enough to carry the Marlins to a couple of victories. I do think the Phils win game 3, though.
Thanks to Ehsan! Make sure to follow both him (@ehsank24) and Marlin Maniac (@MarlinManiac) on the Twitter for all the latest about the Marlins!